Mar 10 2011

Shelby: Pull the Plug on NPR

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), ranking Republican on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS), today sent a letter to Subcommittee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) announcing his intention to defund National Public Radio (NPR) following highly questionable and biased remarks by Ron Schiller, the Senior Vice President for Development at the organization.  NPR receives taxpayer funding via grants provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).  The CPB is funded through the Labor/HHS appropriations bill.  In fiscal year 2010,  NPR received roughly $2.9 million in taxpayer funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. 

The letter to Chairman Harkin was also signed by Labor/HHS subcommittee members Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Ron Johnson (WI).  The full text of the letter is immediately below.  A scanned copy is attached.

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 March 10, 2011

 

The Honorable Tom Harkin

Chairman

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on

Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education

131 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington, DC  20510

Dear Chairman Harkin:

We are writing with great concern about the remarks by Ron Schiller, the Senior Vice President for Development at National Public Radio (NPR), at a recent meeting regarding funding for NPR.  Mr. Schiller expressed biased and highly questionable comments that we hope are not shared with NPR leadership.  Further, he represented to potential donors that NPR would be “better off” without federal funding.  In this time of fiscal austerity, we should make wise investments and direct scarce federal resources to organizations that will use this funding to serve the needs of the nation.  It is clear that Mr. Schiller’s comments do not reflect the majority of Americans’ views and call into question what NPR stands for.

Therefore, it is our intention to look at all available appropriations vehicles to discontinue funding directly related to NPR programming.  NPR receives funding from the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor/HHS) Appropriations bill through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s system support account, radio programming, and community service grants.  NPR received roughly $2.9 million in the fiscal year 2010 Labor/HHS Appropriations bill and it is our intention to work with our colleagues to terminate funding for NPR. 

We look forward to working with you to ensure that federal funding is being spent in the best interest of the American taxpayer.

Sincerely,

Richard Shelby                                                           Lindsey Graham

                                      Ron Johnson